Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Candy Bar Inspired: Almond Joy Quinoa Crunch Clusters

Almond Joy Quinoa Crunch Clusters

I've fallen behind on my blogging lately. It all started with going on vacation a couple of weeks ago. Then I started reading this book and I've been entrenched ever since. I just finished Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand yesterday. It is such an amazing story. I couldn't put it down. I stayed up way past my bedtime every night last week reading it and now my sleep schedule is all messed up. But it was worth it! I highly recommend this book.

Well, this is a food blog, so let's talk about food! A reader sent me a recipe for Haystacks made with cocoa powder, dextrose and a bunch of mix-ins, such as oats, corn puffs and millet puffs. I decided to make my own version of the recipe including all ingredients that I can tolerate. I decided to try sliced almonds instead of oats and and threw in some unsweetened coconut and quinoa puffs. The chocolate, almonds and coconut are a lot like an Almond Joy candy bar and the quinoa puffs in the chocolate remind me of a Crunch candy bar, so hence the name.

Almond Joy Quinoa Crunch Clusters

This would be a good time to talk about coconuts and the low-FODMAP diet. There are two types of coconut I can tolerate, and two types I can't. I can tolerate coconut oil because it's all fat, with no fiber or sugars. I can also tolerate (unsweetened) flaked coconut in small amounts. However, coconut milk (or cream) and coconut flour are nightmares for me. The coconut flour is just too much fiber for my system to handle. I'm not sure what it is about coconut milk, but I just can't tolerate it either. It sends me in a mad dash to the loo, to put it nicely (British terms and accents sound much more dignified, don't they?). I've heard other people with fructose malabsorption have issues with coconut milk as well, even though it's been declared as low-FODMAP. What gives?

Almond Joy Quinoa Crunch Clusters

So this recipe includes both coconut oil (which is really good for you) and flaked coconut. Can you tolerate either of these? I hope so! You'll just have to try this recipe and see. My husband and I like to eat these bite-sized treats as a dessert to cap off our dinner. Enjoy!

Almond Joy Quinoa Crunch Clusters
Gluten-Free, Low-Fructose*
makes about 28 clusters

Almond Joy Quinoa Crunch Clusters

3/4 cup granulated sugar or powdered dextrose (for low-fructose)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup milk (any kind will work, I used unsweetened almond)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds*
1/2 cup puffed quinoa
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar or dextrose, cocoa, coconut oil and milk. Bring to a boil over low heat while stirring. If using sugar, remove pan from heat as soon as it comes to a boil. If using dextrose, keep boiling the mixture 2 to 3 minutes, or until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in vanilla extract, sliced almonds, puffed quinoa and coconut. Drop by heaping tablespoons on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper (a spring-loaded cookie scoop works great). Refrigerate until set.
*While these cookies are low in fructose, they are not considered low-FODMAP because of the galacto-oligosaccharides in almonds. If you are sensitive to almonds, you can try a low-FODMAP nut like walnuts instead.


  1. This looks fab (ok, I'm an "Aussie" not quite as dignified as a Brit... ;) That's a real kicker re the coconut milk.... Not sure if you have already heard of this/done it - but if you can tolerate a little lactose skim evaporated milk with a few drops of coconut essence is a good sub for curries etc. But not all people can tolerate it. With me the worst thing I can have is black, regular tea. Not pleasant!

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